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The Broadening Definition of Elder Abuse

First few Article Sentences

In addition to federal regulations affecting healthcare providers, many states, including California, have laws prohibiting the abuse of elderly individuals, as well as dependent adults. While such laws are based on good public policy providing specific protections for those who can be more easily exploited and subject to abuse, legitimate questions arise regarding what conduct actually constitutes abuse. Those who are required to comply with the elder abuse laws or report abuse as mandated reporters, such as caregivers, struggle with the definition of abuse, which is usually not specifically defined in the governing statutes. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, regulators and law enforcement authorities tend to define abuse broadly and can view negligent care as abuse, even if the lack of care does not result in actual physical harm to an individual.

Recent developments at the federal and state levels seem to be continuing the trend toward an expansive definition of elder and dependent adult abuse.

Cohn, Jonathon E.

Chang Lee Annie

Arent Fox LLP

Elder Abuse

November 7, 2016

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